Bill Bryson is best known for his humorous travel writing. Case in point:
I’m a Stranger Here Myself. This book was about Bryson’s return to the United States after living in Great Britain for twenty years or so. His writing portrayed how differently Americans are from the rest of the world, from our cars to our love of fast food restaurants. Case in point: A Walk in the Woods. This book describes Bryson’s attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail, from start to finish (Georgia to Maine). He accurately portrayed the difficulties of hiking the entire east coast, in particularly his difficulty. It is such a humorous account, you’ll be hooked.
Book reviews are one subset of Opinion Essays. While the reviewer gives his opinions of a book, he uses facts and quotes from the book as support for his opinion. I’ve also highlighted in red the common mistakes of student writers. –Miss McCulla
As readers might have surmised, Bill Bryson’s books are not sequential; they can be read in any order. So I chose In a Sunburned Country, this book deals with Bryson’s trip through the massive contentintent of Australia. He traveled to all of the major tourist destinations, from the Sydney Opera House to the Great Barrier Reef, and everywhere in between. Traveling leisurely with a generous budget, Bryson humorously describes his journey.
While reading In a Sunburned Country, you are introduced to the quirky character of Australia. For example, Australia has dozens of popular monuments featuring some true eccentricities. Consider the giant Earthworm Museum shaped as an enormous earthworm. A bit weird, but it is one of the many unique things that Australia has to offer.
If you are interested in discovery, Bill Bryson notes the thousands of uncategorized animals in Australia. People trek to the Outback seeking these undiscovered animals, and occasionally they find an animal thought to be extinct. And trees that rival any in the world grow unfettered.
One of the consistent themes in this book is the massive size of the country. Cities are spread out: the larger coastal cities are well-known. But hundreds of thousands of people live in small cities miles away from any other city. In fact, getting from one city to another may take a day or two. Bryson discusses both and describes his visits to the restaurants from every culture along the way.
The best part of the book in my opinion is when the author visits the Great Barrier Reef. [Because you are writing the paper, everything in it is your opinion. It is rarely necessary to write, “in my opinion,” in a paper. –Miss McCulla] He travels to the Reef on a large boat with about 400 people; they snorkel, swim, and survey the beauty of the reef. And because of the urban legend about a couple who were killed near the Reef several years past, and rumors of jellyfish and sharks that like to nibble on humans, Bryson’s humorous descriptions of his experiences is fun to read.
Overall, In a Sunburned Country is very entertaining and will definitely make you laugh once or twice every chapter. Bill Bryson has a straightforward, easy-to-understand writing style and will always leave you wanting more. ***by Daniel Breedlove
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Miss McCulla is a retired English teacher of 32 years. She has Mastery of the grammar and mechanics of English, and has taught expository writing, fictional writing, and rhetorical skills to hundreds of students and aspiring writers throughout her career. She has written/edited/self-published five books and currently writes for and edits a writing blog called The Underground Tutor where she gathers essays, articles, entries, papers, manuals, profiles, criticisms, and analyses of literature, just like those asked of students and writers in the university and publishing houses.
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